“Tell her who your father is, Rae,” Taylor urged, and nudged her with her elbow. Rae smiled slyly.
“My father is a police detective. We’re going to tell him what the boys are up to, and he’ll be there with some other policemen and arrest them all.”
“But what good is that to me? I’ll look like I really am a whore,” I said.
“No. Rae’s father will know you are working with us and them,” Taylor explained. “The police do things like this all the time. They call it a sting operation, right, Rae?”
“Exactly. Everyone will know how you cooperated with them. You’ll look a lot smarter than those boys.”
“Finally, we’ll wipe that smug, arrogant smile off Ashley Porter’s face and no one will believe anything he says about any girl anymore,” Taylor said.
“You’ll be doing us all a big, big favor,” Rae continued.
“It’ll be easy,” Taylor said. “And just think how you’ll feel watching them take those boys to the police station and calling all those parents, especially Ashley’s, who will have to come home from their weekend holiday.”
“Mr. Perfect goes in the toilet,” Rae said, and Taylor nodded, both of them turning to me eagerly.
“Well, what do you think?” Taylor asked.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“You can do it,” Rae urged.
“I know I can do it,” I snapped back at her. I didn’t need encouragement from this lollipop.
“So?” Taylor said. “What do you say? We’ll be with you the whole time.”
“Revenge is sweet,” Rae sang, and beamed.
“There’s no better way to put a cork in Ashley Porter’s sewer mouth,” Taylor emphasized.
“Why should I care if he talks garbage or not? It’s not going into my ears,” I muttered.
“Don’t you have any self-respect?” Rae asked, pulling back.
No, I wanted to say. I don’t even have a self anymore to respect. I don’t know who I am, much less who I will be. I was living with relatives who really didn’t want me. I had a learning disability and a court record. My father was dead and my mother in a madhouse detox unit. Nothing that happened to me or that I did seemed to matter.
“Everyone here, especially every girl, will see you as a heroine,” Taylor said. “I bet your relatives will be proud of you, too.”
“No one messes with Phoebe Elder,” Rae declared as if she was writing a headline on a television news program.
“Will you do it?” Taylor pursued eagerly.
I took a deep breath. If I really didn’t care, what difference did it make if I did it or not? I thought. I might as well do it. At least, it was something to do.
“Okay. What’s first?”
“Wait to see if any of the boys approach you with the offer. Maybe it’s all talk. If it isn’t, however, Ashley will expect you to be indignant, angry about it, and chase the boy off. He’s probably hoping for that and getting his explanation for that all ready, but you’ll surprise him by accepting the offer. Now he’ll have to put up or shut up, and he’ll put up,” Rae explained.
“He won’t want to look stupid to his friends,” Taylor added.
“Right. So you’ll have a date and a place,” Rae continued. “I’ll tell my father and we’ll plan out the trap.”
“This is great,” Taylor said. “I can’t wait.”